SBS 2003 book – chapter 3 continues with backup

I am Harry Brelsford (www.smbnation.com) the author of Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best PRactices. I am posting up parts of my book each day to get it in the wild before SBS 2008 releases! Enjoy this gift.

 

Backup Data

With SPRINGERS, you are installing SBS on a brand-new HP/Compaq Proliant server as part of our sample company setup. The company’s data initially remains on the old NetWare server until it will be transferred over the wire or across the network to the new SBS server. That said, the data backup precautions are nothing out of the ordinary: Last night’s backup should be verified.

But let’s trade places for a moment and present a different scenario: reuse of an existing server machine. This assumes you are like many small businesses and hope to reuse your existing server for SBS. So one of the first things you are confronted with is major data backup issues. That is, how do you transfer data, via a single machine, from your previous operating system (say NetWare or NT) to SBS?

BEST PRACTICE: Please carefully read the following scenario and appreciate that is an advanced topic for guru SBSers. First and foremost, I do assume that the foreign environment you are migrating data from has a tape backup device attached to the server, the tape backup device works, and you know how to make and verify a tape backup on the foreign system. My example uses Novell NetWare as its foreign system from which the data will be migrated to the new SBS system. But to be honest, you’ll likely see more Windows NT scenarios out there than NetWare.

Assume that you are converting from a small Novell NetWare network to SBS. Also assume that, to save money, you plan to reformat the hard drive on your existing NetWare server and install SBS. Thus, your first challenge is to make darn sure that you’ve completely protected the business’s data located on the existing NetWare server prior to reformatting its hard disk. If not, let’s just say there aren’t enough hours in the day to re-create the data you’ve lost!

The challenge here is that the tape created on a NetWare server using an NLM-based tape backup application isn’t readable by the SBS’s native tape backup application. In fact, relying on such a strategy results in an error message regarding a foreign tape when you try to access the tape under the native backup routine in SBS.

So what can you do? I’ve performed the following work-around to transfer this data from NetWare to SBS server-based environments. What makes this work­around so SBS-specific is that you can play this trick in a smaller environment, the kind of environment that SBS caters to. Obviously, this trick wouldn’t be possible in larger enterprise environments that the full versions of Windows Server 2003 cater to.

First, copy the NetWare-based data to a second server or even one or two client workstations. As you know, today’s workstations have huge hard drives that are often larger than those found on older servers in smaller companies. In my case years back, I pursued both strategies. I literally copied the firm’s data from its existing NetWare server (2.5GB of data on a NetWare partition) to a loaner NetWare 4.11 server that I brought from home. I also copied the same data to a subdirectory of a robust workstation. After I completed my SBS installation, I (of course) copied the data back to the newly created SBS server from the client workstation. Using the data copy stored on the workstation, I saved a lot of time by not dropping under the hood on SBS and performing a somewhat nasty Win2K-ism of installing Gateway Services For NetWare (GSNW) to retrieve the data from my loaner NetWare 4.11 server.

BEST PRACTICE: I’ve done the same thing with an SBS installation converting from a Linux server to a new SBS server. In this case, I wasn’t interested in wasting the time to perfect the ICE.TEN terminal emulation connection between the Linux box and the SBS server. Thus, I copied the data from the Linux box to a workstation and back to the new SBS server.

Read Release Notes

Take my advice and open the README.HTM which points you to four documents:

                      Small Business Server 2003 Release Notes

                      Getting Started

                      Restoring Your Server (this is very cool and something I speak to in Chapter 11 of this book and my forthcoming advanced book for SBS 2003 that will be released in mid-2004).

                      Windows Server 2003 Release Notes

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